ANTARA News Agency: This year marks the 30th anniversary of the dialogue relations between China and ASEAN. What is your expectation of the China-ASEAN relationship in the future?
Wang Yi: Thirty years ago, China and ASEAN established dialogue relations, which have become a pacesetter for regional cooperation since then. Confucius once observed, "One should be able to establish himself at the age of thirty." After 30 years of cooperation through rain or shine, China and ASEAN have established a shared belief in solidarity, equality and mutual assistance. We have developed a sense of a shared future and a partnership through thick and thin. And we have embraced a shared vision to revitalize Asia and usher in a brighter future for our region.
Last year, President Xi Jinping participated in the China-ASEAN Expo for the first time, and Premier Li Keqiang attended the China-ASEAN Summit. This attests to China's commitment to working with ASEAN and China's support for ASEAN centrality. The 30th anniversary provides a new starting point, from which China is ready to work with ASEAN to build an even closer community with a shared future, and open up another 30 years of even greater cooperation.
China will scale up support to ASEAN's pandemic response. We are providing COVID-19 vaccines to ASEAN countries and helping Indonesia to become a hub of vaccine production for Southeast Asia. Going forward, we will continue to prioritize the needs of ASEAN countries.
China will deepen cooperation with ASEAN for mutual benefit. We will explore complementarity between China's new development paradigm with ASEAN's Comprehensive Recovery Framework. We may also push for an early entry into force and implementation of the RCEP, unleash the full potential of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, and foster new highlights of cooperation in digital economy, sustainable development and others.
China will step up strategic coordination with ASEAN. Together, we will steer clear of various disturbance, speed up COC consultations, engage in practical maritime cooperation, and jointly uphold peace and stability in the region.
Phoenix Television: The Trump administration removed restrictions on US interactions with Taiwan. The possibility of a crisis involving China and the United States over Taiwan has been listed as a top-tier risk by a think tank. What is China's view on US policy toward Taiwan?
Wang Yi: I want to make three points on the Taiwan question.
First, there is but one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. This is a historical and legal fact, and a common understanding of the international community.
Second, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait must be and will surely be reunified. This is the trend of history and the collective will of the entire Chinese nation. It will not and cannot be changed. The Chinese government's resolve to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity is rock-firm. We have the capability to thwart separatist attempts for "Taiwan independence" in whatever form.
Third, the one-China principle is the political foundation of the China-US relationship, a red line that should not be crossed. On the Taiwan question, there is no room for compromise or concession from the Chinese government. We hope the new US administration will appreciate the great sensitivity of the Taiwan question, and will abide by the one-China principle and the three Sino-US joint communiqués. We would hope to see a clear departure from the previous administration's dangerous practice of "crossing the line" and "playing with fire", and we hope that the Taiwan question will be handled prudently and properly.
Khabar 24 News Channel: How will COVID-19 affect the Belt and Road Initiative? What will China's priorities be in promoting Belt and Road cooperation?
Wang Yi: Since last year, the pandemic has affected the world in many respects. Yet despite the headwinds, Belt and Road cooperation has not paused, but forged ahead with new outcomes, strong resilience and great vitality.
We have honored the principle of joint discussion. A number of meetings including the High-level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation as well as over 30 sectoral events were held, galvanizing greater support for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
We have acted on the principle of joint construction. Thanks to our dual commitment to COVID response and economic reopening, not a single key BRI project was suspended during the pandemic. Projects such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway, the China-Laos railway, and the Budapest-Belgrade railway are making good progress, contributing significantly to stabilizing the local economy and improving the lives of the local people.
We have prioritized the principle of joint benefit-sharing. In 2020, the China-Europe Railway Express set a new record in both freight services and cargo volume; the volume of goods ferried through the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor doubled from the previous year. All these contributed to the stability and smooth functioning of international industrial and supply chains.
The pandemic may have disrupted personnel flow, but it has not stopped BRI partners from supporting and investing in this joint endeavor. Together, we are building a Health Silk Road. Our cooperation on pandemic response has turned the Belt and Road into a corridor for life-saving supplies. We are building a digital Silk Road, a corridor of smooth information flow that will keep BRI partners digitally connected. We are also building a green Silk Road, under which we have intensified cooperation on green energy, green infrastructure and green finance. Our goal is to make the BRI a robust engine for low-carbon transformation and green recovery in the post-COVID world.
COVID-19 has changed the world in profound ways, but the need for Belt and Road cooperation has not subsided, and China's commitment to cooperation has not changed. As we pursue a new development paradigm, we will explore better pathways for Belt and Road cooperation and offer greater opportunities to BRI partners. We are ready to work with all stakeholders to advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with renewed commitment and greater resilience. Together, we can turn Belt and Road cooperation into a journey toward common development and prosperity for all.
Beijing Daily: China envisions to foster a new development paradigm. What will be its impact on the world?
Wang Yi: The purpose of fostering a new development paradigm is to adapt to the new development stage in China. We hope the strategy will enhance China's capacity for self-sustained development and achieve high-quality development in the country, and at the same time, promote further opening-up to connect the Chinese market with the international market and better coordinate import and export. This promises more development opportunities, greater market space and broader cooperation prospects for all countries.
With a more pro-business environment and opening-up at a higher level, China will work with all countries to accelerate the building of an open world economy. To use a train analogy, China in the new development stage is like an express train with greater driving force and load capacity accelerating toward a new goal. We welcome all countries to get on board and move toward a future of shared prosperity.
Press Trust of India: How do you see the prospects of peace at the borders between China and India? How will the two sides' different perspectives on the border issue shape the future trajectory of the relationship?
Wang Yi: The China-India relationship is essentially about how the world's two largest developing countries get along and pursue development and rejuvenation together.
As two ancient civilizations next door to each other and two major emerging economies each with over one billion people, China and India have broad common interests and tremendous potential for cooperation. Domestically, both countries face the historic mission of bettering people's lives and accelerating growth. Internationally, the world expects both of us to safeguard the common interests of developing countries and advance multipolarity in the world. On many important issues, our positions are the same or close due to similar national realities. Therefore, China and India are each other's friends and partners, not threats or rivals. The two sides need to help each other succeed instead of undercutting each other; we should intensify cooperation instead of harboring suspicion at each other.
The boundary dispute, an issue left from history, is not the whole story of the China-India relationship. It is important that the two sides manage the dispute properly and at the same time, expand and enhance cooperation to create enabling conditions for the settlement of the issue.
The rights and wrongs of what happened in the border area last year are clear. So are the stakes involved. What happened again proves that initiating confrontation will not solve the problem, and that returning to peaceful negotiation is the right way forward. China's position is very clear: We are committed to settling the boundary dispute through dialogue and consultation. At the same time, we are resolved to safeguard our sovereign rights and interests. It falls on both sides to solidify the existing consensus, strengthen dialogue and communication, and improve the various management mechanisms to jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border area.
In the year ahead, we hope India will work with China to truly deliver on the important common understanding reached by our leaders that "the two countries are not threats to each other but opportunities for each other's development". Together, we can bring greater benefits to the 2.7 billion people in China and India and make bigger contributions to the advent of an Asian Century.
China News Service: Over the past year, the Foreign Ministry has done a great deal in helping our fellow countrymen overseas to cope with COVID-19. What new measures does the Foreign Ministry plan to roll out this year?
Wang Yi: Our overseas compatriots had a tough time last year. The unexpected pandemic stopped our compatriots overseas from returning home and put their life and health in jeopardy. Here I wish to extend my heartfelt sympathies to all of them.
On the other hand, the worst situation often brings out the best of love and compassion. The Party and the government care deeply about the life and health of each and every Chinese national abroad. The Foreign Ministry and our missions all over the world rose to the occasion and swung into action. All of us in the diplomatic service worked around the clock, with many on the front line, to launch a special campaign of consular protection for Chinese nationals in every corner of the globe.
We reached out to those in COVID-affected communities, delivered health kits and Spring Festival packages to over five million Chinese in more than 100 countries, and helped arrange timely local treatment for all those unfortunately infected.
Our consular hotline 12308, running 24/7, handled about 3,000 calls on average every day, three times the amount in previous years.
We dealt with a number of emergency consular cases, including evacuating Chinese nationals stranded in conflict-stricken areas in Ethiopia and rescuing Chinese hostages hijacked by pirates. With concrete actions, we have reassured our compatriots overseas: Our mission is to serve the people and we will leave no one behind; our diplomats will not stand back until the pandemic is completely defeated.
In this connection, I have some good news to share with you.
First, We will launch a "spring sprout" program to assist and secure vaccination for our citizens with Chinese or foreign vaccines. More than 50 countries are including Chinese nationals in their vaccination schemes. Apart from this, many Chinese living abroad are inoculated with Chinese vaccines in accordance with host country laws. As the next step, we plan to set up vaccination stations in countries where conditions allow to administer Chinese vaccines for our compatriots in surrounding countries.
Second, We will roll out health certificates for international travelers. To implement President Xi Jinping's proposal of a global mechanism on the mutual recognition of health certificates, we will launch our version of electronic health certificate for international travelers. We will take care to fully protect personal privacy, and contribute to the mutual recognition of nucleic acid test results and vaccination records, thus facilitating safe and orderly flow of personnel.